Toyota Halts Lexus GS 460 SUV Sales After Consumer Reports Issues Warning

Automotive
(LOS ANGELES, April 14, 2010) – Toyota Motor Corp. stopped sales of its Lexus GX 460 SUV after Consumer Reports this week warned car buyers not to buy the SUV because the magazine’s testing results showed the vehicle had a rollover safety risk.
 
The magazine’s “Don’t Buy” warning is based on its independent testing and the tall vehicle’s failure to pass its emergency handling test.  Not since 2001 has the New York-based publication issued a “not acceptable” warning – that time for a Mitsubishi.
 
Consumer Reports, seen as an objective authority on auto safety, said it found that while running the vehicle on its testing course, the SUV “slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways” before the vehicle’s electronic stability control system regained control.  Each of the four magazine test drivers experienced the problem.
 
“CR is urging consumers not to buy the GX 460 until the problem has been fixed,” the magazine said in a statement. 
 
Toyota currently has an advertising campaign to bring car shoppers into its dealerships using highly attractive leasing, financing, and maintenance offers to jump-start sales of its line following recalls of millions of its vehicles for a variety of problems.  The sales effort also follows The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announcement last week that it will seek  $16.4 million against the automaker for failure to notify the auto safety agency of the “sticky pedal” defect, despite knowing the potential risk to consumers. 
 
Approximately 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. were recalled in January for the sticky pedal defect.  The multi-million dollar penalty sought against Toyota for a single violation is the largest civil penalty ever assessed against an auto manufacturer by NHTSA.  The agency said it still is investigating if the Japanese automaker committed more violations that may warrant more fines.
 
Toyota recalled more than 8 million U.S. vehicles for problems including floor mats, sticky gas pedals, steering and components.  Drivers may find information regarding Toyota’s recalls at Toyota.com/Recall, call Toyota at 1-800-331-4331, or the Lexus Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-255-3987.  Information is at http://www.toyota.com and http://www.lexus.com
 
Consumers may also call NHTSA’s safety hotline 1-888-327-4236 or file an online safety complaint with NHTSA.     

Media Contacts

Elaine Beno
(714) 885-2324
Beno.Elaine@aaa-calif.com